March 17, 2021: Let's Do Better, Together
For the longest time, American culture has conditioned young men that depression and anxiety are weakness. We can't be manly if we can't choke it down and overcome those things. We all want to be John Wayne, but he's just a myth. Truth is, generations of men have been burying their depression under vices like drinking, gambling, marital infidelity, and more. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that mine is food. We don't need to fight it. We need to normalize talking about it, so we can learn, heal, and grow together, especially if you are a father. We've got to create normal to pass down to our children so they don't suffer the same fates as us.
There are times I feel absolutely broken inside. When I'm really down on myself, I have a bad habit of lashing out at those who are closest to, and most supportive of me. I'm constantly having to remind myself that self doubt and insecurity are the enemy, not my wife and kids. Even when you know you're better than the place you've sunk to, getting better or being better isn't easy. I've asked myself numerous times over the last month "Will I ever not be angry again?" I have hope.
One of my favorite lines from the song "Seize the Day" in the Disney musical, Newsies, is "Courage cannot erase our fear. Courage is when we face our fear." It is more than ok to admit you're not ok, and it takes a lot of courage to speak out and say something. I don't see this as a cry for help. I see it as a call to arms. A brother needs me, and if all I can offer is some encouraging words, then so be it. This is me, tapping you on the chin, telling you to keep your head up. Here's a halftime pep talk for anyone that needs it from your favorite coach.
"You are beautifully and wonderfully made, and a blessing to everyone that knows you. You ain't perfect, but you don't have anything to be ashamed of, and there is nothing to be sorry for. At your ripe old age, you've already built a legacy through your children, and you still have the passion, power, and potential to accomplish so much more in life. You are strong. You are brilliant. And most importantly, you are loved.
When I see you again, I'm going to hug you for 2 seconds longer than you're comfortable with, just so you can take that little extra with you for a rainy day. Until then, if you need anything, especially an understanding set of ears, I'm here for you brother."
February 14, 2021: #ValentinesDayChallenge
Here’s our story. The answers are from Kevin's perspective.
How’d you guys meet? We met working at the Newton Gresham Library at Sam Houston State University in the summer of 2004. We started dating about 9 months later.
First Date: I went to her spring band concert on campus, and then we got TCBY frozen yogurt brute heading to a performance of the musical Ragtime on campus. Our seats weren't together, which ducked. We went to a late night breakfast at IHOP after and talked in the car until the wee hours of the morning.
How long have you been together? almost 16 yrs
Married? 15 yrs
Age difference? She's about 11 months older.
Who was interested first? I was sprung from the first time I met her. She has a boyfriend, so I had to wait a while to ask her out. I knew she was the one after that first date, but I had to play it cool because she was trying to friend zone me.
Who is taller? Me, but I have short arms so we have nearly the same wing span.
Who said I love you first? I said "I think I'm falling in love with you." She said "I know. "
Most impatient? Me.
Most sensitive? Tie, but in different ways.
Loudest? Me for sure
Most stubborn? She say me, but I'd say her.
Falls asleep first? Me always. She hates it.
Cooks better? Definitely me.
Better morning person? Cathy is fully operational until 11am.
Better driver? Me.
Who is more sociable? Me. She's shy.
Who is the neat freak? Neither. We gave up when Caroline was born.
Where was your first kiss? Stallman Park at Surfside Beach.
Who initiated your first kiss? Me, but I was nervous, so I asked if I could. Remember, I had been in the friend zone until then.
Who picks where you go to dinner? Most of the time, I let her pick.
Who is the first one to admit when they’re wrong? Me, because it's true.
Who wears the pants in the relationship? Me. I'm the decider!
Who has more tattoos? Neither of us have any.
Spends the most? Me for sure
Did you go to the same school? High School, No. College, yes.
Where is the furthest you two have traveled together? Hawaii
Who drives when you are going somewhere? Me
January 10, 2021: Your Coach Is Not The Problem
I wrote in the response to another teacher suggesting that the political turmoil we are enduring is a byproduct of allowing football coaches to teach our social studies classes.
Obviously, academics in any area will suffer if the instructor is more concerned about the game plan for Friday night, than the lessons they deliver in class daily. It's a funny take, and I'll concede that this is a symptom of the problem, but not THE problem. These coaches/teachers are operating within a system where the dual role is the norm, and someone is always responsible for hiring them and setting expectations.
That model perpetuates because we just so happen to live in a society that cares more about sports than the humanities. Most people are ignorant about history, world culture, and current events because they don't have the time keep up, or they simply do not care. That has way more to do with what we invest our time in as individuals and as a collective. If you haven't picked up a book on American history, government, or politics since you graduated, is it really your coach's/teacher's fault? Honestly, not doing so doesn't make you an idiot, it makes you normal. Would it be fair to blame English teachers for the declining interest in Shakespeare and classic literature?
The state of Texas doesn't put a priority on social studies until junior high. Students have little background in the field, and some of them start 7th grade not knowing the difference between a city, state, and country. Hell, some finish the year not knowing the difference. The 8th grade social studies curriculum in the state of Texas encompasses so much government and history, that it's overwhelming to kids who's bodies and brains are themselves enduring the revolution that is puberty. They really struggle with the concepts covered, and then we double down with standardized tests that are routinely the most difficult of the four core subjects. I know because I taught history and coached 3 sports for 10 years. I was always a teacher first, and I'm proudly an instructional coach now.
I'm not a tin foil guy, but I think there is credibility to the idea that the ruling class wants to limit or control the ideas and information people have access to in order make them easier to sway. Maybe it's time that the educational system and society as a whole took these subjects more seriously, so that the public is better informed and can make better decisions.